Authored By Kara Zupkus
October 09, 2020
UPDATE: The president of the University of Northern Iowa reversed the student government’s decision to ban the pro-life group from campus, citing the school’s commitment to the First Amendment.
An intolerant group of student senators at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) denied recognition to a Students for Life chapter, claiming it was a “hate group” and arguing the organization uses “clear militant language” to advocate for the unborn.
The student government at UNI held a Zoom meeting on October 7 to debate whether or not official recognition should be given to a proposed pro-life group, Students for Life.
Many leftist senators could not see past their own pro-abortion views in this legislative decision, with some equating the student organization to white supremacist groups.
“Approving this bill is the same thing as approving a supremacist group,” one senator noted. “You’re saying you support them to violate women’s rights.”
“This is a hate group, this is hate speech, this is hateful rhetoric that is infringing on basic human rights that is healthcare,” senator Max Tensen noted.
Other senators claimed that their constituents would not want their tuition dollars supporting events and advertising for a pro-life group.
Senator Triet Ngo said that the denial of the group “should serve as an example of us not tolerating any infringement to human rights.” He added “I would argue that not all opinions are equal, there are opinions and there are opinions that get people killed.”
Caleb Stekl, a senator and apparently proud member of the campus Young Democratic Socialists (YDSA) group, was warned by a fellow senator of potential litigation if they chose to deny the pro-life group based on viewpoint discrimination, noting that the group had already gone through the proper channels and had been signed off on by the student organization office.
Stekl slammed the senator’s argument, noting it wasn’t his problem but the university’s, if the school was sued.
Several leftist organizations already exist on UNI’s campus, including YDSA, Northern Iowa Feminists, and Citizens Climate Lobby.
These tyrants-in-training need a serious wake-up call on the First Amendment. Whatever they “feel” about pro-life students is insignificant. The Constitution protects the right to free expression of everyone, regardless of viewpoint or the popularity of an idea.
UPDATE: The university’s spokesman told YAF that the student government “violated UNI policy by rendering a decision that was not content neutral.”
“The University of Northern Iowa is committed to protecting our students’ First Amendment rights and is concerned that recent actions by the student government violated UNI policy by rendering a decision that was not content-neutral. We have provided the petitioning student organization with resources and encouraged them to appeal the decision, which they did this afternoon.
The university will support their appeal, which is scheduled to be heard Monday by the student government’s appeals court. If the court declines to grant their petition, the student group can appeal that ruling to the university president.
UNI will not uphold a decision that violates the First Amendment and university policy.
Northern Iowa Student Government has for decades provided our students with an invaluable educational opportunity to learn about First Amendment free expression and how real-world policy is made. We trust this incident will further inform all those involved.”